Tuesday, November 30

In Your Arms of Love

Read Psalm 46



Calming an overtired baby is one of the great challenges of motherhood. Nothing in this world can console a child who needs to sleep but refuses to do so. Rock, sing, bounce, and swaddle, but the crying continues; arms flail, backs arch, anything to avoid sleep. A child will work themselves into misery rather than surrender to peaceful slumber. .



When my boys were infants, Sunday mornings were a ruthless challenge. Our church meets in school gym, so there is no quiet place to escape to when baby needs a nap. The church service aligned perfectly with morning naptime. More often than not, by the end of the sermon, my baby was near meltdown. From experience, I knew the cure to his ailment.


Monday, November 29

Perfect in Weakness.

“Some days are for living and others are for just getting through.” 
(M. Forbes)

Read II Cor. 12:1-10



The bad days have more hours in them than the good ones. There isn’t actual scientific evidence to support my claim, but I hear mothers out there saying, “Amen!” The hours stretch in those hard times and one defeat is heaped on another like smelly rags on a broken washing machine. My attitude is bad, my reactions are bad, the kids behavior is bad… it seems to be a never-ending cycle of agony.



If there is a moment or two of quiet to collect myself at the end of the craziness, I realize my major disappointment is in myself. Why didn’t I handle things differently? Why couldn’t I have done this instead of that? Why did I behave so nasty today? Why couldn’t I handle things more like Christ? There may have been a bazillion frustrations outside my control on that bad day, but my actions were in my control. And that is my guilt.

Thursday, November 25

Something to Really be Thankful For

Read Psalm 8


In Christ alone
My hope is found
He is my life, my strength, my song
This cornerstone , this solid rock
Firm through the fierces, drought and storm
What heights of Love, what depths of Peace,
When fears are stilled, when Strivings cease!
my comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand.


In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe
This gift of Love and righteousness,
scorned by the ones He came to save,
Till on that cross as jesus died
The wrath of god was satisfied;
For every sin on him was laid
Here in the depth of Christ I live




There in the ground , His body lay,




Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave he rose again!




And as he stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ


No guilt in life, no fear in death
This the pow'r of Christ in me,
From life's first cry, to final braeth.
Jesus commands my destiny
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from his hand
Till he returns or call me home
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand .....


Wednesday, November 24

The Perfect Match

Read Matthew 19:16-28



After thirteen years of marriage, I can finally say to my husband, “I love you more today than I did the day we were married.” I couldn’t say that 5 years ago. It took the work of God in my heart. I praise Him for this every day.


After thirteen years of marriage, I know I can submit to the strength and spiritual wisdom of my husband, trusting that he has consulted God in every matter and is leading our family in the direction God intends for us. I couldn’t say that 5 years ago. God exposed my ugly pride and has taught me to hold my tongue. He is also teaching me the importance of building up my husband and lifting him up in prayer. I’m learning that part of submission is to “duck so that God can hit His target.”


Monday, November 22

The Gift of Contentment

Instead of the word submission, I should write
acceptance, for more and more, as life goes on,
that word opens doors into rooms of infinite peace,
and the heart that accepts asks nothing, for it is at
rest, and the pilgrim of love does not need a map
or chart. “I know my road, it leadeth to His heart.”

~  Amy Carmichael


 Read Philippians 4:4-14


Friday, November 19

Psalm 90

Read Psalm 92 [New Living Translation provided below]



1 It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to the Most High.


2 It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,
your faithfulness in the evening,

Thursday, November 18

Testify




God is a storyteller at heart. He has to be or he wouldn’t have spent so many years using regular people to record the sweeping epic we call the Bible. He gave each of us a story of our own as well. He gave us the stage for this piece of lifetime, but he’d like for us to let him be the star.



I recently attended a women’s retreat for our church. When you get a bunch of women together, the stories will start flying eventually. We’ll start telling labor and delivery stories, the exploits of our children, and once we all get settled in and comfy, we might share our own stories.



We heard some moving stuff from these women. Drug addictions, sexual and physical abuse, promiscuity, dysfunction, depression… The things Jesus saw when he took on all our sin and shame on the cross. These same stories were about deliverance, healing, and new life. God took messes and hurt and baggage and turned every single one of these women into shining stars in the universe. He is glorified through their stories, and their lives bear out the same.


Wednesday, November 17

Distracted.

Posted by Alysun


Read: Isaiah 29:16, I Corinthians 2:9, Psalm 139:7-10




We’re distracted. It’s true. You’ll probably be interrupted a few times before you even finish this paragraph -- so I’ll keep this brief. If we could only hold on to our goal and make it through the distractions without getting off track! “If Satan can’t get me with destruction, he will try to get to me with distraction,” is a quote in Believing God, by Beth Moore.

Tuesday, November 16

Angels Long to Look into These Things

Read Psalm 78



Our family used to take a camping trip every year with my grandparents and my mom’s sister’s family. My aunt and uncle had a wood sided nine passenger station wagon, so they got the privilege of hauling the tent trailer and 6 children (2 of us, 4 of them). The little boys were still in car seats in those days and were strapped into the middle seat. That left the four of us girls to be dispersed between the three seatbelts available in the rear-facing back bench seat and one up front between the grown ups.



The front seat was the coveted spot. We would take turns riding an hour or so at a time in the luxury of the front or languishing in the back.


From the back, we could see only what was behind us. We saw the backs of road signs and had the opportunity to make awkward eye contact with the diver of the car behind us at stop lights. We had no concept of time back there. The only answer we would get from the oft repeated “Are we there yet?” was “It’s just around the next bend.” It was never around the next bend.


Monday, November 15

My story.

Posted by Alysun


Read James 1 (my favorite passage)



I wish I could say that godly mothering was a natural progression for me. I was raised in a safe, loving, Christian home. But none of this came easy. With the birth of my first child came a decline in time spent with God. It didn’t get better with child number 2 or 3. Instead, I reached a low, dark place after the birth of my third child. Each day was harder and more frustrating than the one before. I hated getting up in the morning. I snapped and was angry nearly all the time. Sure, I could wax poetic about my paradise life with my wonderful husband and beautiful children. But the reality was that I couldn’t wait for this stage of irritation to pass so I could have some peace and quiet. Maybe when my kids were teenagers it would be better!

Saturday, November 13

Saturday Special: One Step At A Time

Posted by Alysun


Christian super heros looked a bit strange during my childhood. The 80s were a crazy time anyway, so it is no wonder it produced characters like Psalty the Singing Songbook.




I have an old VHS tape of the camping-trip movie and my kids love to watch it. The child actors are dressed crazy, over acted, the set is cheesy and awkward, and let's not get in to the fact there is a full-grown man wearing blue tights and a book costume. Yet the message is still fantastic. The well worded songs get stuck in our heads and we are singing about God's protection, comfort, and joy (a bit better than "Someday My Prince Will Come" in my opinion).



video

Friday, November 12

If Fear Ever Frays your Edges


Today's post is borrowed from Holley Gerth over at Heart to Heart with Holley.

I pull the jeans from my closet, hold them up to the light. I'm about to fold them neatly into my suitcase when I notice the rough cuffs.

I grab scissors and snip at loose ends. They only fray more. I tug and pull. (Did I mention these are mygood jeans?)

I sigh and lean back against the wall. And as I do, I realize my jeans aren't the only thing with frayed edges.

My heart has them too.

Thursday, November 11

Form and Function

Read Jeremiah 18:1-10, and Isaiah 64



So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord.
“Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”


I mentioned in a previous post the love affair I had with a casserole dish. A brief and torrid romance such as it was could not have lasted. If I learned anything, besides that I have a sickness when it comes to kitchen gear and the color turquoise, I learned that the combination of form and function make a nearly irresistible package. When something is useful, it is a good thing. When something is both lovely and useful, it is ideal.


Often things only have both form and function in the Pottery Barn catalogue. Real life presents odd-sized items that don’t fit into perfect cubes. Real life brings miniature tornadoes in the form of toddlers and their curious older siblings. Is form and function possible in real life?

Wednesday, November 10

For the joy set before us: The Amazing Race

Posted by Alysun


Read Hebrews 12:1-11


Parenting small children is a crazy, never predictable reality. I’m reminded of Hebrews 12:1-2: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


I turned on the tv one evening to see that the Amazing Race was on. I saw the teams sprinting through an airport and gasped, "I've been there! They're in Maputo, they're in Maputo!" I said with great enthusiasm. My husband came the room and we watched transfixed as the clueless teams tried to find the office for an airline that would give them tickets to Johannesburg. "It's upstairs by the cafe!" I shouted at the tv. Watching the familiar airport on tv brought back a wave of memories as my husband and I have explored that same airport quite a few times flying in and out of Mozambique.

Tuesday, November 9

God-Alive

Posted by Andrea

Read Psalm 42



A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek;
I want to drink God,
deep draughts of God.
I'm thirsty for God-alive.
I wonder, "Will I ever make it—
arrive and drink in God's presence?"



Monday, November 8

You've Just Been One-Upped.


Posted by Alysun


Read Philippians 2:1-11


A friend shared with me how her daughter had been up all night throwing up. The poor thing! While I felt bad for her, I immediately thought of something that happened to me involving throw-up. A natural segway, I told her about how my oldest child got sick in the back of the minivan and threw vomit all the way to the front seat, covering my new purse. Then we went home and my other daughter had a diarrhea attack in the bathtub, full of water and her sister. Well, I was pregnant at the time and the very scene sent me heaving into the sink.

It was a terrific story that really showed off my mothering woes. I was kinda of proud of my harrowing tale until I tried to remember what my friend had said that reminded me of the vomiting/diarrhea/heaving incident in the first place. It was then I realized I had just “one-upped” my friend. She shared about her life and I topped her frustrations with how it could have been worse… and had been worse for me.

Friday, November 5

Sibling Love.

Post by Alysun, as written by Grace K.

When spending time with my girls, one of the comments I hear the most is, "Wow! They actually enjoy being together!" And they do. But let me get this straight right now; THIS IS NOT AN ACCIDENT!!!

A loving family is one of God's greatest gifts to us. I believe that it is being viciously attacked by our enemy. It is vitally important that we pray for a wise a discerning heart in all areas of life, but especially as we seek to raise our children. "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got". If we continue to think, act and plan the way things "are always done," how can we expect to get any different results from the world around us? Divorce, rebellion, and estranged relationships are rampant. What kind of lives are we setting our children up to live?

Thursday, November 4

Have Patience

Posted by Andrea

Read Psalm 94 and Galatians 5:16-26



I talk a lot about patience with my kids.

“I’ll get your toy when we stop the car. Be patient.”

“Dinner will be ready in 5 minutes. Be patient.”

“You will be four on your next birthday. Be patient.”


OK, so maybe I just say “Be patient” a lot. We sing the song from Music Machine to mix it up a little.


Have patience. 
Have patience. 
Don’t be in such a hurry. 
When you get impatient you only start to worry. 
Remember. 
Remember that God is patient too 
and think of all the times when others have to wait for you.


Patience is a pretty important character attribute in the New Testament. It is an aspect of the definition of love (I Corinthians 13). It also made the short list in the Fruit of the Spirit.

Tuesday, November 2

The Key to the Kingdom.

Posted by Andrea


Read Matthew 5:1-12


At a secret society meeting the other evening (sounds more glamorous than Weight Watchers), the speaker was discussing something called self-talk. This is one of the dumbest terms self-help “psychiatry” has come up with to date. I’m sorry, it just is. The concept is to talk to yourself, like a crazy person, in an attempt to convince yourself to change a certain habit or in an effort to feel better about yourself.


I talk to myself all the time. I mutter things in the grocery store like, “Don’t forget milk.” Thank goodness I have children along usually and can pretend I’m talking to them. The difference here is I am reminding myself of a fact--I will forget milk if I don’t hear someone, even myself, tell me to get it. I am not trying to trick my subconscious into believing something that may or may not be true.

Monday, November 1

This Is My Costume.

Posted by Alysun from Resolved2Worship, written by Alyssa (used with permission)


I found this at a thrift shop for a dollar and I couldn't pass it up. I think it fit Bubbie perfectly.







Photobucket



I struggle with what others think of me. I don't think this is anything new that I type here this afternoon. I do think though, praise God, that He has brought me a long way concerning this in my life. He's used quite a few difficult situations and people to expose my heart and He continues to test my mind, heart, and soul along these lines because He and I both know I can fall quick and fast back into the old thought patterns.